Henry VIII and the Art of Majesty Tapestries at the Tudor Court Thomas P. Campbell

Publication date:
15 Sep 2007
Paul Mellon Centre
440 pages: 279 x 216mm
114 b-w + 206 color illus.
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Luxurious, beautiful, and portable, tapestry was the pre-eminent art form of the Tudor court. Henry VIII amassed an unrivaled collection over the course of his reign, and the author weaves the history of this magnificent collection into the life of its owner with an engaging narrative style. Now largely dispersed or destroyed, Henry’s extensive inventory is here reassembled and reveals how, through tapestry, Henry identified himself with historic, religious, and mythological figures, putting England in dialogue—and competition—with the leading courts of Early Modern Europe while promoting his own religious and political agendas at home. Campbell’s original account sheds new light on Tudor political and artistic culture and the court’s response to Renaissance aesthetic ideals. Sumptuously illustrated with newly commissioned photographs, this stunning re-creation of Europe’s greatest tapestry collection challenges the predominantly text-driven histories of the period and offers a fascinating new perspective on the life of Henry VIII.

Thomas P. Campbell is Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and Supervising Curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is the principal author of Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002) and editor of Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor (see page 29).

"This thoroughly researched study provides a welcome infusion of scholarly rigor into a field that has suffered from a bias toward fine arts at the expense of decorative arts. An important contribution to scholarship, it is among the best in its genre. . . . Essential."Choice